Download The Light of the World: A Memoir Audiobook

The Light of the World: A Memoir Audiobook, by Elizabeth Alexander Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Elizabeth Alexander Narrator: Elizabeth Alexander Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2015 ISBN: 9781478903338
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From acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander comes a deeply resonant memoir for anyone who has loved and lost.

In The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Reflecting with gratitude on the exquisite beauty of her married life that was, grappling with the resulting void, and finding solace in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander channels her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose that universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.

The Light of the World is both an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art, and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well lived and a paean to the priceless gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares about what matters most, The Light of the World is required listening.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Love - for a marvelous man, for her sons, for the textures and pleasures of the world - shines on every page of Elizabeth Alexander's THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. This acutely observed study of what it means to lose one's beloved is a profound and beautiful contradiction: a joyous book that faces head-on the deepest grief, written with art and courage, and with limitless heart. Mark Doty
  • This is a beautifully written, heartrendingly candid account of the abrupt loss of her husband by the distinguished poet Elizabeth Alexander. It is a vivid, intensely rendered elegy of a remarkable man--husband, father, artist, chef. Both a memoir and a portrait of a marriage, The Light of the World is, as its title suggests, a bittersweet testament to love and the memory of love, one of the most compelling memoirs of loss that I have ever read. Joyce Carol Oates
  • Elizabeth Alexander has written a brave and beautiful book about love and loss-the deep pain that comes with such a loss, and the redemptive realization that such pain is a small price to pay for such a love. Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle
  • This is a gorgeous love story, written by one of America's greatest contemporary poets. Graceful in its simplicity, sweeping in scope, this book is proof that behind the boarded up windows of America's roiled marriages and ruined affairs, true love still exists, and where it does exist, it graces the world-and us-with light and hope. Elizabeth Alexander is a prose writer of deep talent and affecting skill. With ease, she peels back layer after layer to show the soft secrets of affection, the kindness, and the wide open generosity of a full hearted man and talented artist, who had more love to give in his relatively short lifetime than most of us will ever know. James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird and #1 New York Times bestseller The Color of Water
  • THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is as beautiful and moving as a gorgeous piece of music. The minute I finished it, I longed to read it again. Anna Deavere Smith
  • Elizabeth Alexander creates intellectual magic in poem after poem. The New York Times Book Review
  • Elizabeth Alexander is a student, and dare I say, master of the craft. Her work is inspirational in a way that The Great inspirational, in that it just says so much about who we are. The Atlantic
  • In narratives sweetened by the lyric pulse and pierced through by felicitous turns of irony, Alexander chronicles the world of 'black and tan.' Her poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh. Rita Dove, The Washington Post
  • [Alexander] seems much like Walt Whitman. She sings the American song. Maya Angelou
  • Professor Alexander is a virtuosic writer and a shrewd analyst of American letters, a polyglot who moves fluently from essay to sonnet, from free verse to drama--and in her teaching, traces equally diverse themes. Slate
  • Alexander explores tensions inherent in gender and race and expresses the ambivalence of motherhood in jazz-inflected tones. ELLE
  • “Alexander explores tensions inherent in gender and race and expresses the ambivalence of motherhood in jazz-inflected tones.”


  • “She shows us how feeding your family and remembering to be aware of the small details of everyday life are the bedrocks of true connection. In this book of prose, each page is a poem.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Alexander discovers a warmth that will remind some readers of the deeper truth of grieving: It is a sign of love.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • "[A] gorgeous and intimate tribute.”


  • “A deeply intimate and lyrical portrait.”


  • “Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir of her marriage and the sudden death of her husband is by turns sorrowful and joyful, earthy and elegiac, deeply personal and achingly universal…palpable on every mellifluous page…Alexander here faces the unfaceable topic of loss—and almost convinces us and herself—that despite her terrible grief, she is grateful for the life and love that preceded it.”, editorial review

  • “A radiant book of love’s everlastingness and art’s infinite sustenance.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Elizabeth Alexander should be doubly proud of this audiobook. First, she’s written a deeply resonant, heartfelt, and engaging memoir that recounts the tragedy and aftermath of her husband’s untimely death…Second, Alexander should be proud because she is one of the few authors who also successfully narrate their own book. She has a sunny, vibrant voice that accentuates the good times she writes about, but she’s also able to moderate her tone for the most serious passages, making the story more nuanced and interesting. Alexander paces herself well, and she keeps our attention on her writing.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2015
  • A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2015
  • Winner of PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award, 2016
  • Pulitzer Prize, 2016
  • National Book Critics Circle, 2016

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About the Author

Elizabeth Alexander composed and recited "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry--including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--and is the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.